Steal This Film


Title: Steal This Film (Part I + II)
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Documentary
Director: Jamie King
Download: Part One Here and Part Two Here

“Intellectual property is the oil of the twenty first century”


This films title isn't a misnomer or joke but a statement; a stance that is taken in favour of the new technology, and in an attempt to try to remain unbiased I will admit some of the claims sound a little far fetched but it doesn't seem to spend all too long delving into the grey area concerning the ethics and morality of the piracy situation but rather into what is actually happening. For those not keeping up with the events surrounding the Piratebay trials the first half nicely surmises the raids on their equipment and the pressures placed upon the Swedish government by the US, even going so far as to issue threats of severe trading sanctions if they don't comply; essentially bullying them to comply to US law. This side, whilst interesting to see to what extent the battle is taken, pales in comparison to the second half detailing the past, present and future for filesharing.

A commonly heard argument is that the film industries made the same claims about the “VCR being to the film industry what the Boston Strangler was to a woman alone,” thirty years previous despite it becoming apparent now that it was a viable new revenue stream, but the arguments pre-date even that by a considerable margin. Historians discussing the impact of the very first printing press, outlawed as black magic, controlled and heavily regulated by royalty and then smuggled into Paris through Dutch borders giving rise to the “Pirate revolution” in the late 18th century. Other conversations include the birth of the internet; US Research institutes using ARPA to distribute findings with one another in a decentralised network, and explaining that even at the most fundamental level, everything about how the internet operates is designed to share and distribute information, and to prevent piracy would be to shut down the internet.

I can't say the views expressed here match my own precisely, and there is certainly some concern regarding the consumers not much younger than myself that offer no thoughts to compensating the artists they listen to and admire for the costs associated with creating their work, but ultimately the message is a positive one. The days of centralised controlling figures determining what gets heard and what doesn't is coming to a head; consumers are becoming creators and producers, critics and commentators. It's not concerned with whether you agree with them or not, only in bringing people up to speed with the events that has been shaping much of the world and looks set to do so for a number of years to come. It's not often a documentary feels particularly enlightening in revealing new information but this remains an exception. The large media corporations have declared their war and they already know they cannot win.


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